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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg called on his former employer to release information about his time working for them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Buttigieg has said he is personally unable to discuss what he did due to a non-disclosure agreement he signed with McKinsey & Company before ending his employment with the firm in 2010.

As ABC News previously reported, from 2007 to 2010, Buttigieg was working in the Middle East on behalf of McKinsey. But Buttigieg has said relatively little about his time in the region.

The South Bend mayor's civilian work for the consulting company -- and his silence on the matter -- has faced increased scrutiny as his popularity rises among the pool of 2020 Democratic primary contenders.

Asked by ABC News' Whit Johnson on Friday whether Buttigieg believes the American people should know about his work for McKinsey, Buttigieg said he believes it is important for this information to be released, and that he was urging McKinsey to release him from his non-disclosure agreement.

"I don't think that McKinsey should force me to choose between keeping my word in a legal document that I signed din good faith and the need for the American people to know," Buttigieg told Johnson. "They can fix this by releasing it and getting that information out there.

On Friday morning, Buttigieg addressed the issue in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio.

"Right now I am calling on McKinsey to release that information," Buttigieg said. "Maybe they're not used to doing that, but they're not used to having somebody who used to work there being seriously considered for the American presidency. This information should come out and I'm happy to speak to it when it does."

Reached by ABC News on Friday, a spokesperson for McKinsey had no comment on Buttigieg's request to be released from the NDA with his former employer.

Buttigieg continued to emphasize his calls for McKinsey to release him from his non-disclosure agreement at campaign events throughout the day.

"I believe in keeping your word," Buttigieg said Friday at a campaign event at a house party in Concord, New Hampshire. "And I signed a legal document about client names and I am calling on McKinsey to release me from that."

Buttigieg's comments came shortly after the Thursday publication of a New York Times editorial that called on the mayor to tell voters about his time abroad with McKinsey.

"Mr. Buttigieg owes voters a more complete accounts of his time at the company," the Times editorial board wrote. "Voters seeking an alternative to Mr. Trump should demand that candidates not only reject Mr. Trump's positions, but also his behavior -- including his refusal to share information about his health and his business dealings."

Buttigieg's senior communications adviser, Lis Smith, tweeted Friday that the campaign was "working on" a way to get Buttigieg out of the non-disclosure agreement.

In November, a campaign official told ABC News the campaign had reached out to McKinsey to inquire about what Buttigieg's non-disclosure agreement encompasses.

In response to their inquiry, the campaign official said the consulting firm said in essence that all McKinsey employees agree to keep their client work confidential, including who they serve, the nature of their projects, and each client's confidential information.

The Buttigieg campaign reached out to McKinsey a second time to ask about the Democratic presidential candidate's release from the NDA, according to the campaign official, who added that McKinsey has yet to respond to their inquiry on that matter.

In Buttigieg's book, "The Shortest Way Home," he scarcely mentions his consulting but does drop hints about his work in "war zone economic development to help grow private sector employment" in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also refers to a "safe house" in Baghdad. The book doesn't say exactly when or how long Buttigieg was in either country.


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iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request from the Trump administration to lift an injunction on federal executions, blocking the government's plan for five convicted murderers to be put to death by mid-January.

Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh issued a statement concurring with the decision, saying "in light of what is at stake, it would be preferable for the District Court’s decision to be reviewed on the merits by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before the executions are carried out."

Daniel Lewis Lee, 46, a white supremacist convicted in 1999 along with co-defendant Chevie O'Brien Kehoe in the killings of three members of an Arkansas family, including an 8-year-old girl, had been scheduled to be the first prisoner in 16 years to be executed by the federal government.

Lee's execution, originally scheduled for Monday at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, has now been put on hold indefinitely. He remains housed on federal death row at the prison along with 61 other condemned inmates.

The decision by the Supreme Court came just days after U.S. Attorney General William Barr asked the justices to set aside a district court's injunction preventing it from carrying out lethal injections as planned.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington temporarily halted the executions after four of the five prisoners the government had scheduled for executions filed a lawsuit challenging a new lethal injection protocol.

"The Justice Department upholds the rule of law -- and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system," Barr said in July when he announced the government was set to resume executions.

The death row inmates slated for execution sued, arguing the government's new drug protocol to be used in lethal injections violates the 1994 Federal Death Penalty Act, a law that leaves it up to the state where a capital crime was committed to prescribe the method of execution.

Chutkan sided with the inmates' argument that the federal government was attempting to circumvent proper methods for execution in a rush to carry them out.

The judge, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, ruled that the federal government likely exceeded its authority by implementing a single uniform method of execution, rather than adhering to the state-by-state approach under the FDPA.

"There is no statute that gives the (federal government) the authority to establish a single implementation procedure for all federal executions," Chutkan wrote in her ruling. "To the contrary, Congress, through the FDPA, expressly reserved those decisions for the states of conviction."

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia denied the Trump administration's plea to put Chutkan's ruling on hold and allow the executions to be carried out. Just hours after the appeals court upheld Chutkan's ruling, the Department of Justice asked the nation's highest court to lift the stay.

In July, Barr announced that federal executions would resume under a new lethal injection protocol in which a single drug, pentobarbital sodium, would be used.

The last prisoner to face federal execution was Louis Jones Jr., 53, a Gulf War veteran convicted in federal court of kidnapping Air Force Pvt. Tracie Joy McBride, 19, in 1995 from the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, raping her and then beating her to death with a tire iron.

Jones was executed on March 18, 2003, at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, where the only federal death chamber is located.

Following Jones's death, federal executions went dormant due to controversy over the humanness of using the old three-drug cocktail for lethal injection and a shortage on one of the drugs, sodium thiopental.

On Wednesday, 14 states which use the single-drug protocol in lethal injections, filed a joint brief supporting the Trump administration's failed request to carry out the death sentences. The states include Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota, and Texas.

Lee's execution was opposed by loved ones of his victims -- Nancy Mueller, her husband William Mueller, and her 8-year-old daughter Sarah Powell.

Amnesty International, which calls the death penalty "the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment," released a statement in July decrying the move by the Trump administration to resume federal executions.

According to the Justice of Department, other inmates that were scheduled to be executed prior to getting the reprieve from the Supreme Court's included Lezmond Mitchell, who fatally stabbed a 63-year-old Arizona woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter; Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped, murdered and dismembered a 16-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, girl and bludgeoned to death a 80-year-old Missouri woman; and Alfred Bourgeois who tortured, sexual molested and murdered his toddler daughter.

Mitchel, Purkey and Bourgeois had all been scheduled to be executed in December.

Dustin Lee Honken, who shot and killed five people in Iowa in 1993, including a single mother and her 10- and 6-year-old daughters, was slated to be executed on Jan. 15.

While federal executions have been frozen for 16 years, the death penalty has been carried out in several states during that time, including more than 100 in Texas and Missouri since 2012.

On Thursday, Tennessee executed 53-year-old Lee Hall in the electric chair. Hall, who went blind in prison, killed his estranged girlfriend, Traci Crozier, 22, 1991 when he set her car with her inside. He was the second blind prisoner to be executed in the United States since the nation reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A recent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign hire is no longer with the campaign after a series of vulgar tweets allegedly posted by the staffer nearly a decade ago surfaced on his Twitter account, according to the campaign.

The tweets, which contain anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic and racist language were originally reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative-leaning news outlet. The staffer, who was hired as the campaign’s deputy director of constituency organizing, allegedly posted the tweets in 2010, 2011 and 2012 according to the publication.

The Free Beacon report included screenshots of the tweets. The staffer's Twitter account has since been deleted.

When asked for comment, Sanders’ Communications Director Mike Casca said, “He’s no longer with the campaign and we wish him the best.”

Attempts by ABC News to reach the staffer were unsuccessful.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) -- Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California will resign shortly after the holidays after pleading guilty earlier this week to one count of conspiracy in a case surrounding his alleged misuse of $250,000 in campaign donations for personal expenses such as family vacations and oral surgeries.

“Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress," he said in an email sent from his congressional office. " It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years."

He once called the investigation a politically-motivated "witch hunt."

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee sent a letter to Hunter asking him to cease participation in floor votes following his guilty plea, citing a House rule that advises members convicted of crimes for which, "under federal law, you may receive a sentence of two or more years of imprisonment" to "refrain" from voting."

The letter cites that though the provision is not mandatory, "If you violate the clear principles of this provision- that is, by voting in the House- you risk subjecting yourself to action by this Committee, and by the House, in addition to other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your... conviction," the letter reads.

Hunter was the second House Republican to endorse then-candidate Trump during the 2016 election. Trump's first House endorsement came from GOP New York Rep. Chris Collins, who resigned in September before pleading guilty to insider trading related charges.

Together, the two co-chaired Trump's House Leadership Committee in 2016, before Trump won the nomination.

He narrowly won re-election in 2018 after being indicted, along with his wife Margaret, on dozens of charges of improperly using campaign funds.

Hunter also allegedly tapped into some of that money to also finance romantic trysts with multiple congressional aides and lobbyists, according to federal prosecutors in court filings.

Hunter told KUSI in an interview that aired on Monday he decided to plead guilty for the sake of his children. Hunter is due to be sentenced in March. His wife, Margaret, who was also charged in the case and pleaded guilty on a single corruption count, is slated to be sentenced in April.

Hunter's move opens up the possibility of another special election in California, in addition to the one set to take place in the state’s 25th Congressional District, where Democrat Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress amid multiple scandals.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on its GOP counterpart to return the $220,000 in contributions Hunter donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



3dfoto/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- The California senator suspended her bid for president in the crowded Democratic race.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is set to host her first campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area Saturday. And while Warren won't be there -- she'll be stumping in New Hampshire -- the event is shaping up to have as many stars as a Hollywood movie premiere.

The gathering promises to be replete with celebrity faces -- and a life-size cardboard cutout of Warren.

The fundraiser invite obtained by ABC News boasts "lots of co-hosts from the entertainment community, a life-size cutout of Elizabeth, pastrami and burritos and -- debuting at this event -- a video station where you can opt to tell the campaign why you love Elizabeth and what issues attracted you to the campaign." The letter is signed by Warren's finance co-chair, Shanti Fry.

"There is no minimum donation required to attend this event. Some attendees have contributed as little as $3," according to the campaign.

It's not uncommon for campaigns to host fundraising events in the candidate's absence, but what distinguishes this event is the star-studded guest list. Among those expected to be in attendance are actor-comedians Jon and Ike Barinholtz, TV writer-producer Marti Noxon, writer and Crooked Media cohost Kara Brown, actress Elizabeth Banks, actor Ben Feldman, comedian Travon Free, author Jenny Han, director Alexandra Kondracke, film producer Franklin Leonard, playwright Janine Nabers, writer Christopher Noxon, actress Busy Philipps, actress Angela Robinson and actor-comedian Adam Scott.

Warren is not the first candidate to employ star power in her bid for the White House. Other Oval Office hopefuls this cycle -- and cycles before -- have been fêted and vetted by Hollywood elites whose financial support and red carpet clout offer the kind of boost a competitive candidate might welcome.

During his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, President Barack Obama netted high-profile support from a number of celebrities, like Jay-Z and his megastar wife, Beyoncé. Both were vocal Obama supporters and held a series of celebrity-hosted fundraisers for the president's reelection campaign.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has played off celebrity endorsements more than anyone so far, including shout outs from Cardi B, Ariana Grande and Mark Ruffalo.

Warren has sworn off big-dollar fundraisers in both the primary and the general election, emphasizing no special access for wealthy donors -- and she leans heavily on a grassroots rallying cry. She's hold Saturday's event in absentia, leaving her plausible deniability for any pay-for-play face time with donors.

The event comes with the L.A. scene a little less split now that California Sen. Kamala Harris has exited the 2020 race. Before Harris' departure, Banks, who recently wrote, directed and starred in a new "Charlie's Angels" remake, donated the maximum amount to her campaign at least twice.

But many big Hollywood donors have not yet settled on a candidate.

Several entertainment executives have told ABC News they are keeping their options open because few want to be on the outs with the eventual nominee's inner circle.

ABC News has reached out to the Warren campaign for comment on the event.

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David Tran/iStock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday it no longer plans to move forward with a facial recognition program that would conduct a mandatory scan of all U.S. citizens arriving or departing the country at airports and ports of entry, reversing course on a Trump administration plan.

Customs currently permits U.S. citizens to voluntarily opt-in for the photographs. But a proposal published by the Office of Information and Regulatory affairs stipulates that "all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”

"There are no current plans to require U.S. citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States," a Customs and Border Protection spokesman said in a statement. "CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published.”

CBP says they initially considered including U.S. citizens in their biometric entry-exit program due to the logistical challenges of having separate entry processes for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals at airports nationwide.

But after significant pushback from the American Civil Liberties Union and members of Congress, the CBP reversed course to allow U.S. citizens to continue to voluntarily participate in the biometric entry-exit program.

Earlier this year, U.S. Customs officials announced that the photos of roughly 100,000 travelers were hacked as part of a "malicious cyber-attack" on a federal contractor.

The reversal won praise from Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who led a bipartisan effort in Congress along with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to stop mandatory facial scanning.

“This is a victory for every single American traveler who flies on a plane, and a reminder that the we must remain vigilant protectors of our right to privacy,” Markey said. “Thanks to swift and public pressure, Homeland Security is reversing course and not moving forward with its dystopian facial recognition proposal at U.S. airports."

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Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- A “few” Senate Republicans agree that President Donald Trump's actions were impeachable, but they are unlikely to speak out against the president because they fear the political ramifications, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said Thursday.

“There are, I believe, a few Republicans who recognize that what President Trump did here was demonstrably impeachable, but who are very concerned about the political consequences for them and their party,” the Delaware senator said in an interview on CNN.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she has instructed House Democrats to begin the process to formally draw up articles of impeachment against Trump, saying he had abused his power "for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security."

"Sadly, but with confidence and humility ... today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said.

As the House prepares to draft articles of impeachment, lawmakers on the other side of the Capitol have begrudgingly begun preparing on their end, too.

“So much for being prayerful and thoughtful, I think it's a bad day for the country, I think this whole thing is a joke,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, told reporters Thursday.

“I like Nancy Pelosi as a person, but this process has been hijacked,” Graham said. “I think the most radical people in the country are running, driving the impeachment process and either she gets on the train or she's going to get run over by it.”

Other senators, however, have said they’re ready to get the impeachment trial over with.

“I guess if you're going to come up with an inadequate case, you might as well go for the impeachment and have the circus,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told reporters, adding that he's glad they're getting to it "sooner rather than later."

"I think time is somewhat of the essence. People are tired of it and there's an election coming," Cramer continued. "I'm grateful for it. I'm glad. I'm anxious to see the articles and then look forward to sitting down for a trial."

A top White House official delivered Trump's demands for a "fair" Senate trial to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

"We believe very strongly, given the fatally flawed process in the House, that if they were to elect against our better advice to provide articles of impeachment -- send articles to the Senate -- that we need witnesses as part of our trial and full defense of the president on the facts," Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director said.

Coons said that because Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, it will be difficult for Democrats to stop them from pursuing live witnesses as part of the Senate’s impeachment trial, such as former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden, or House Intelligence Committee Chairman, California Rep. Adam Schiff.

“I suspect Republicans would quickly come to regret giving [Biden] the opportunity to speak up about President Trump's role in interfering with Ukraine in such an unprecedented way,” Coons said on CNN. “Because the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and they ultimately could set the rules for this impeachment trial by a bare majority, there is very little Democrats in the Senate could do to stop them."

Coons added, “We will be relying on a small number of Republicans who are pushing back against this idea and who recognize that impeachment is a serious, significant, constitutional moment.”

Meanwhile, some Republicans, like Cramer, do want to hear from witnesses like Schiff.

“I do think there's an increasing need for Chairman Schiff to have to testify. I think his motives ought to be brought into the scenario considering especially that he's now subpoenaed phone records of other members of Congress,” Cramer said. “I mean, clearly if other members of Congress, including on his committee, are under suspicion, then he certainly ought to be.”

The entire month of January remains a question mark on the official calendar, with senators acknowledging that an impeachment trial will likely suck up all of the “oxygen” in the room, leaving them no time to conduct other legislative business.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted Pelosi and House Democrats for launching the impeachment inquiry in the face of unfinished legislative items, including funding the federal government ahead of a Dec. 20 deadline.

"Only in this town, only in Washington, D.C., does anybody think it’s okay for our armed forces to go unfunded ... and a major trade deal to go un-passed ... because Democrats are too busy hosting a panel of law professors to criticize President Trump on television,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, responded to McConnell, saying he was “simply wrong” for tarnishing the House Democrats’ impeachment process.

“It's so disheartening, confounding and deeply disappointing that at this historic moment I heard the Republican Leader criticizing in such strident terms the process of the impeachment inquiry in the House for being too short and not including enough witnesses or due process for the president,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

He continued, “The charges against the president are extremely serious. No belittling of these charges will hold any water.”

Coons said Senate Democrats will continue to do work to get bills passed while the Democratic caucus continues the conversation on how they will respond during the proceedings.

“But, there hasn't been a serious beginning of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate about what the rules will be,” he said.

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adamkaz/iStock(NEW HAMPTON, IA) -- In a strikingly tense moment on the campaign trail, Joe Biden confronted a man at a town hall in New Hampton, Iowa, calling him "a damn liar" after he pressed the former vice president on his son's business ties to Ukraine.

"We all know Trump has been messing around in Ukraine over there, saying that they want to investigate you. He has no backbone, we know that. But you, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing in order to get access for the president. So you're selling access to the president just like he was," the man told Biden, after saying Biden was too old to be president.

"You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. No one has ever said that," a heated Biden responded. "No one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and nobody has ever said it."

Biden also challenged the man to do push-ups and take an IQ test with him to prove his physical and mental fitness to be president.

After the man, who refused to give his name to ABC News, said he is not voting for Biden, the presidential contender and front-runner said, "Of course you're not. You're too old to vote for me."

At the heart of the man's allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter, is that the younger Biden accepted a lucrative seat on the board of directors for Burisma, the Ukrainian company in 2014, during the elder Biden's tenure as vice president.

While the Bidens have not been accused of doing anything illegal, ethics experts say Hunter Biden’s foreign business activity presents ethical concerns.

Trump and his allies have sought to advance a theory that Biden used his position to shield his son and Burisma from investigation by pushing Ukraine's government to fire its then-prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. But Shokin was widely considered ineffective in dealing with corruption both within Ukraine and internationally, and no evidence has emerged to support that theory. No evidence has surfaced, either, that Biden "sent his son" or otherwise used his influence to get his son a seat on the company's board.

Speaking with reporters after the event wrapped, Biden dismissed questions about whether he had lost his temper.

"I didn’t lose my temper, what I wanted to do was shut this down," he said. "You saw the reaction of all the people here...what I wanted to make clear to him was: if he gets more out of control, this is not appropriate behavior at all. That was the message."

This is not the first time Biden, who has previously launched unsuccessful bids for nation's highest office in 1988 and 2008, engaged in a tense exchange with an attendee at a campaign event.

During Biden's first run for president in 1987, a New Hampshire voter, Frank Fahey, found himself on the receiving end of a tirade from the former Delaware senator after he asked what he thought was an innocent question about Biden's law school experience.

Biden took the question as an insult and partially responded, "I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect. I went to law school on a full academic scholarship."

Last month, Fahey, who is now supporting Biden for president and called him the best candidate for the job, reminded Biden of the exchange in early November in New London, and asked Biden what he would have done differently in his handling of the Anita Hill hearings during Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

"You ask all the easy questions...Frankie, baby, it’s no wonder I love you," Biden joked initially before saying he did all he could to help Hill under the rules of the committee at the time, but admitted that she was treated unfairly.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In a striking moment Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted angrily to a reporter who asked if she hated President Donald Trump, shortly after she announced the House would draw up articles of impeachment against the president.

“I don’t hate anybody,” Pelosi snapped as she pointed and shook a finger at the reporter, James Rosen, a correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group who shouted the question as she was leaving her weekly press conference.

Rosen said he was referring to comments from Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee from Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with constitutional law scholars.

“As a Catholic I resent your using the word hate in the sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president,” she said. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.”

Democrats’ three witnesses in Wednesday’s hearing said Trump abused his office in seeking to pressure Ukraine to launch political investigations. Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor and Republicans’ sole witness, argued that Democrats were rushing to impeach Trump prematurely and should continue to investigate and litigate disputes with the executive branch over evidence and testimony in court.

Pelosi said that Trump, in spurning congressional subpoenas and directing current and former aides not to cooperate with House committees, has obstructed their investigations.

“We’re not going to be accomplices to it,” she said.

The California Democrat, who had previously warned that impeachment could polarize and divide the country, defended the decision Thursday to move forward.

“He’s the one who is dividing the country on this. We’re honoring our oaths of office,” she said.

“I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our dreamers of which we're very proud. I think he is in denial about the climate crisis,” she said.

“However, that is about the election,” she added. “This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president's violation of his oath of office.”

On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee will meet to hear evidence presented by The House Intelligence Committee staff that compiled the 300-page Ukraine report. It’s not clear if the White House will participate in the upcoming hearing.

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Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she has instructed House Democrats to draw up articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he had abused his power.

"Sadly, but with confidence and humility ... today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said.

"The facts are uncontested," she said. "The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival."

"His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our constitution," she added. "Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act."

"If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so at the peril of our republic," she said.

"The facts are uncontested," Pelosi said. "The president abused his power for his own political benefit."

The announcement tees up a House floor vote in the coming weeks that would make Trump just the fourth president in American history to face an impeachment vote, and the third to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

"In America, no one is above the law," Pelosi said.

"The president has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections. His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States," she said.

About an hour later, Trump tweeted his first reaction, saying that Democrats are focused on impeachment after they "gave up on the ridiculous Mueller 'stuff.'" He said that impeachment is rarely used and suggested impeaching him will set a bad precedent for future presidents.

....This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind. The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019

Pelosi's announcement comes after several constitutional law experts told lawmakers the president had abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to open investigations that could benefit him politically.

On Wednesday, three constitutional law professors selected by Democrats told the House Judiciary Committee that Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine warranted impeachment. A law professor chosen by Republicans argued that there wasn't yet sufficient evidence to meet the constitutional standard and that Democrats were rushing to judgment.

After the hearing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said he believed the conditions for impeaching Trump had been met.

Pelosi delivered the statement from the same spot where she first announced the start of the Ukraine impeachment inquiry in September, privately discussed moving impeachment with her caucus and leadership team on Wednesday.

There were no objections in the room, when Pelosi asked Democrats “are you ready?” to move forward with proceedings, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., defended Democrats’ deliberations, and pushed back on the suggestion from Republicans that a vote would be premature.

“This is not rush to judgment,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of information over two and a half years from a lot of different sources, including the Mueller report.”

While Democrats are still divided over the nature and scope of possible charges against Trump, House Judiciary Committee Democrats suggested they could pursue articles on abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of justice, and obstruction of Congress.

Lawmakers are also anticipating a potential floor vote to impeach the president before the end of month, though leadership hasn't made an announcement.

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ABC News(NEW HAMPTON, Iowa) -- Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry announced Thursday that he is endorsing Joe Biden for president, providing a high-profile boost for the former vice president with under two months to go until the first primary votes are cast.

The endorsement comes as Biden continues his eight-day, 18-county “No Malarkey” bus tour through Iowa, which Kerry is set to join on Friday morning.

“I believe Joe Biden is the President our country desperately needs right now, not because I’ve known Joe so long, but because I know Joe so well. I’ve never before seen the world more in need of someone who on day one can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world Donald Trump has smashed apart,” Kerry wrote in a statement released Thursday by the Biden campaign.

Kerry, the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer during the 2004 presidential election, faced an uncertain path to the nomination not dissimilar to the one Biden now faces, and was, like Biden, lagging in the polls in Iowa in the final stretch to caucus day.

In a tweet highlighting his endorsement, Kerry underscored that his support of Biden is because he knows him well and feels "he'll be ready on day one to put back together the country and the world that Donald Trump has broken apart."

Kerry's criticism of Trump came on the heels of a video released by the Biden campaign shortly after President Trump touched down on U.S. soil following the NATO summit.

The video features Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, French President Emanuel Macron and British PM Boris Johnson all appearing to laugh on camera in reference to Trump.

"A President the world is laughing at," reads a text slate in the video.

Biden has also talked about Trump being mocked on the world stage at nearly every one of his campaign events in Iowa on Wednesday.

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Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning to Democrats that if they are going to impeach him, they should "do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate."

Trump's tweet came shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was instructing House Democratic chairmen to draw up articles of impeachment.

The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019

Biden has said he won't testify.

Immediately after Pelosi's announcement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted: "@SpeakerPelosi & the Democrats should be ashamed. @realDonaldTrump has done nothing but lead our country - resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments. [USA flag emoji] We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate."

A top White House official said on Capitol Hill Wednesday that President Trump is demanding a full trial featuring live witnesses in the Senate chamber if and when the House sends over articles of impeachment to the Senate later this month.

After he arrived at the White House from his trip to London, President Trump tweeted late Wednesday night about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy…

Trump tweeted that when he told Zelenskiy, “I would like you to do us a favor though” that the “us” referred to the United States.

When I said, in my phone call to the President of Ukraine, “I would like you to do US a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.” With the word “us” I am referring to the United States, our Country. I then went on to say that......

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019

House Democrats have alleged that Trump was asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals for his own personal political benefit – not for the benefit of the United States.

When Trump last night noted that he brought up the U.S. attorney general, he neglected to mention that he later told Zelenskiy he wanted him to speak not only with U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, but also with his own personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC News(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- A two-day snowstorm wasn't enough to scare off Hawaii-native Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from New Hampshire. In fact, she's officially moved to the state.

While other candidates are focusing on Iowa, Gabbard is placing her bets on New Hampshire. Gabbard is one poll short of the four needed to qualify for the December debate stage; two of the qualifying polls were from New Hampshire.

At 5%, Gabbard was tied for fifth place in the Oct. 29 CNN/University of New Hampshire poll of likely primary voters in the state. However, nationally, she received just 2% support, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Nov. 3.

"We had a town hall in Rochester and then in Gilford right before the storm hit and people said, 'You must be getting out of town.' It was like, 'Nope, we’re here for the duration,'" Gabbard told Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.

During this week's storm, Gabbard posted pictures showing her doing yoga in her newly rented New Hampshire home as 2 feet of snow piled up outside.

She said she isn’t giving up on the other early voting states, saying she will be in South Carolina "in a couple of weeks. But we look forward to spending a lot of time [in New Hampshire]."

Snow isn’t a foreign entity to Gabbard, despite growing up in Hawaii. She has spent several years on the mainland in Washington -- both as a congresswoman and a congressional staffer for the late Sen. Daniel Akaka -- and just this week braved the 20-degree weather marching in a holiday parade in Laconia, New Hampshire.

She did joke that Christmas this year will be a little different: "I grew up in Hawaii where Christmas was you know 80 degrees and a day at the beach. And so being here for the winter, you know, the first snow of the year is always fun."

Gabbard will likely spend the holiday season campaigning. New Hampshire is a unique state where 78% of likely primary voters said they are still trying to decide what candidate to support, or are leaning toward someone, but have not yet definitely decided on a candidate, according to the CNN/UNH poll.

Marty Prichard, an undecided voter in the state, said he's looking for a candidate who brings "youth, new ideas and new concepts."

"We're at a point in this country where things are very partisan within party lines," Prichard told ABC News after an event featuring South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Prichard said he’s looking for a candidate who can bridge that divide and only two candidates fit that bill: Buttgieg and Gabbard.

At a crowded town hall at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, in October, Gabbard acknowledged she had an uphill battle getting her name out there to voters. While 5% is enough to get her into debates, she remains well behind the favorites, even specifically in New Hampshire. Sen. Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont, led in the October CNN/UNH poll with 21%, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, from bordering Massachusetts, at 18%, former Vice President Joe Biden at 15%, Buttigieg at 10% and both Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar also at 5%.

"I don't have the same kind of high level of name recognition as somebody like Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, or others," she admitted.

In an attempt to fix the problem she has blanketed the state with billboards over the past year and said she’s received a good return on investment.

"We have folks coming to our town hall meetings, saying, 'Hey, I saw this yard sign,' or 'I saw this billboard and I thought, 'Huh I wonder who that is? And then I forgot about it. Then I saw another one, and another one, and another one and another one,'” Gabbard relayed.

While Gabbard is doubling down on New Hampshire, she's not the only one. Yang opened a campaign office in Manchester on Tuesday, marking his 75th event in the state. Buttigieg is beginning his 14th trip to the state on Thursday.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately characterized Gabbard's move to New Hampshire. Gabbard will be spending a significant portion of time in the state through the first-in-the-nation primary, while keeping Hawaii as her official state of residence.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden is responding unequivocally to a top White House official who said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is demanding a full Senate trial, featuring live witnesses, if and when the House sends over articles of impeachment: He does not plan to attend voluntarily.

"No, I’m not going to let them take their eye off the ball," Biden said outside a campaign event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday afternoon. "The president is the one who has committed impeachable crimes, and I’m not going to let him divert from that. I’m not going to let anyone divert from that."

Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director, delivered Trump's demands to reporters on Capitol Hill earlier in the day.

"We believe very strongly, given the fatally flawed process in the House, that if they were to elect against our better advice to provide articles of impeachment -- send articles to the Senate -- that we need witnesses as part of our trial and full defense of the president on the facts," Ueland said.

Ueland gaggled with a handful of reporters just steps away from the Senate chamber for roughly 20 minutes following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on impeachment strategy.

Also in attendance during the luncheon: White House counsel Pat Cipollone, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh -- the latter two have both been charged with handling the administration's communication strategy on impeachment.

"The underlying impeachment rules of the Senate afford the president a full suite of rights to argue his case on the facts and on the merits," Ueland said. "That's why we believe quite strongly that in order to make the president's whole case in contradiction to a partisan process which doesn't allow him to make his full case, that we need both a full trial and the opportunity to call witnesses and work a trial over here on the Senate floor."

He suggested the White House wants live witnesses as part of the trial, instead of relying on videotaped depositions like the ones entered into evidence during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. Ueland did not, however, provide details as to who those witnesses might be.

"The president wants his case made fully in the Senate with a full trial and that’s a point we’re going to make consistently," Ueland said.

Republican senators coming out of the meeting offered no additional insights on the process of a potential trial, with many saying they are simply waiting to see what the House ends up doing.

"It was an opportunity for our members to ask questions, for some to offer comments, but you know again it's a fluid process, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this," South Dakota Sen. John Thune said.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called the discussion "free-ranging" and broad in scope.

"There was nothing designed in my view to sway anybody one way or the other To be honest, it was really not very -- I hate to say this because, you know I've been to the White House for the lunch meetings -- it's pretty much the same stuff," North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer said.

"There was nothing new or a revelation, just a discussion of what might occur," Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said in agreement.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt gave a small glimpse into what the proposed strategy will be for Senate Republicans.

"Well, the strategy is what the leader talked about the other day: when it gets to the Senate he will decide what the calendar looks like and how much willingness there is to have an agreement, a bipartisan agreement, and if not, how much willingness there is to have 51 votes to either amend or move forward with the current Senate rules," Blunt said.

He continued: "I do think that the president's counsel said enough times -- and he wanted to be sure that we heard it -- that even though they're talking about what they may do if it comes here - they clearly don't believe, based on what's happened so far, that the House should send it here."

The Republican-controlled Senate also released its 2020 calendar without anything scheduled for the month of January due to the uncertainty surrounding the impeachment trial.

"The only thing I know for sure is that nobody knows what we're doing in January yet," Cramer said. "I think it's just prudent planning.

"January will be a little on the fly," Thune said.

Blunt weighed in as well, saying "often there’s a break around Martin Luther King Day and other things that may very well not happen if we're involved in the impeachment process."

Cramer added, "Worst case scenario, let's hope."

While Senate Republicans met with White House officials to discuss strategy, Senate Democrats said they are preparing for a potential trial, too.

A source close to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the senator gave a presentation during their caucus lunch "confined to the mechanics of a potential Senate trial because articles have not been drafted."

"As a part of Schumer’s presentation, members were shown video clips from the 1999 trial to familiarize themselves with the process," the aide said.

The aide added that only seven of the current 47 Senate Democrats were in the Senate during Clinton's 1999 trial.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Mark WIlson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- (WASHINGTON) --  The impeachment inquiry moved to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday with a panel of constitutional scholars tackling the million dollar question in the debate: Do President Donald Trump's actions warrant impeachment under the Constitution?

Three of the witnesses were lawyers handpicked by the Democratic majority: Pamela Khan, a professor at Stanford Law School; Michael Gerhardt a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law; and Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School.

The lone Republican-picked witness was Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School.

Here's what you need to know about the hearing:

The Democratic-picked lawyers say Trump is what the Founding Fathers had in mind with impeachment


Among the three Democratic-picked lawyers, there was no doubt: Trump, they testified, abused his power in office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival. And soliciting a foreign power for personal and political gain was exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they tucked impeachment powers into the Constitution, they said. If left unchecked, the president could continue to invite foreign powers to help his upcoming election, the lawyers argued.

"We three are unanimous," Gehardt said, when they were asked if Trump's actions amount to a "high crime and misdemeanor," as identified in the Constitution.

"If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning, and, along with that, our Constitution's carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil," Gerhardt said in his opening statement. "No one, not even the president, is beyond the reach of our Constitution and our laws."

The most colorful examples came from Karlan, who described being so riveted by witness testimony in the impeachment hearings that she opted for a mail-order turkey this Thanksgiving so that she could spend her time combing through the details. One "chilling line" by Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony, she said, was that Trump didn't need Ukraine to pursue a corruption case against Democrat Joe Biden, but rather just announce one.

"This was not about whether (former) Vice President Biden actually committed corruption or not. This was about injuring somebody who the president thinks of as a particularly hard opponent," she said.

Karlan also compared Trump's actions with Ukraine to a president withholding disaster aid for a state.

"Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that's prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding," Karlan told the panel.

"What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for? What would you think if that president said, I would like you to do us a favor. I'll meet with you, and I'll send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal."

The GOP-picked lawyer had a somewhat surprising argument against impeachment

Turley, who testified during President Bill Clinton's impeachment inquiry 21 years earlier, gave an unusual argument on behalf of Republicans and against impeachment. He didn't defend the president's actions or Trump himself. Turley noted he doesn't support Trump politically and even voted against him in the 2016 election. He did say he's a longtime friend of Trump's attorney general, William Barr.

But Turley also argued that Democrats were setting a dangerous precedent that could one day be used to smear one of their own.

"I get it. You're mad," he told the panel in his opening statement. "The president's mad. My Republican friends are mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad."

Impeachment though won't lessen that anger, he warned. Turley said he didn't think Trump's actions were a "clear case of bribery" and that Democrats should wait for the courts to weigh in on their demands for more documents and witness testimony.

Democrats have said they can't wait because Trump's actions present a "crisis" that must be addressed.

"That's why this is wrong," Turley said of impeachment. "It's not wrong because Trump is right. … It's wrong because this is not how you impeach an American president."

He urged Democrats to consider what they will do "when the wind blows again perhaps for a Democratic president."

"Where will you stand then?" he asked.

A conservative congressman attacked the panel as elitists


In perhaps the most explosive exchange of the day, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz attacked the panelists summoned by Democrats as politically motivated elitists and noted their past contributions to progressive campaigns.

According to records by the Federal Election Commission, Karlan has donated money to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's current presidential campaign, and Gerhardt donated money to both of President Barack Obama's election campaigns. Karlan also testified to having supported Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Gaetz, the conservative firebrand and provocateur who at one point crashed closed-door impeachment testimony, accused Karlan of living in "the ivory towers of your law school." He also criticized Karlan for making a joke about the president's teen son, Barron Trump.

Earlier in the hearing, Karlan was explaining that the Constitution was written in a way to make the U.S. president behave differently than a king, specifically excluding titles of nobility.

"While the president can name his son 'Barron,' he can't make him a baron," she said.

When it was Gaetz's turn to question the witnesses, he jumped on the remark as an attack on a "minor child."

"That does not lend credibility to your argument," Gaetz said. "It makes you look mean. It makes you look like you are attacking someone's family."

Karlan said she did not have contempt for conservatives and added, "I have a constitutional right to give money to candidates."

She later asked to apologize for alluding to Barron Trump.

"If I can say one thing, I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president's son. It was wrong of me to do that," Karlan said. "I wish the president would apologize for the things he's said wrong, but I do regret having said that."

Republicans tried to throw sand in the gears early on

Republicans immediately tried to throw a wrench in the works with demands of procedural inquiries and roll call votes to force testimony from other witnesses.

The theatrics on Wednesday succeeded in slowing down the pace of the hearing and hammered away at a key GOP talking point: The impeachment process is unfair, the Republicans have said repeatedly.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, opened the hearing by saying the Democratic quest for impeachment didn't start with Russia or election meddling but rather when liberal voters refused to accept the 2016 election results.

"This is not an impeachment. This is simply a railroad job and today's is a waste of time," Collins said.

Roles were reversed during Clinton's impeachment

A poster standing in the hearing room quoted longtime Rep. Jerry Nadler, now the House Judiciary Committee chairman, in 1998 making the same argument Republicans are pressing now -- that impeachment is unfair because it attempts to undo the results of a national election.

Nadler indeed railed against GOP impeachment efforts at the time, when Clinton was impeached for lying under oath to try to hide an extra-marital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other," Nadler said at the time of Clinton's impeachment. "Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come. And will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions."

On Wednesday, Nadler said one big difference between the two presidents is that Trump has refused to cooperate, noting Clinton's willingness to provide a blood sample to be tested for DNA at one point.

"President Trump, by contrast, has refused to produce a single document, and directed every witness not to testify. Those are the facts before us," he said.

Turley, the Republican-picked witness who also testified in 1998, noted that both impeachment proceedings were driven by hyper partisanship.

"The stifling intolerance for opposing views is the same," Turley said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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